BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: Damien Cook is seen during the New South Wales Blues State of Origin Captain's Run at Suncorp Stadium on June 04, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Following the Blues' loss to Queensland, NSW advisor Greg Alexander has explained the reasoning behind the decision to place Damien Cook in the centres.

Two minutes into the contest, Tom Trbojevic left the field, rupturing his pectoral muscle. The injury saw Brad Fittler and the coaching staff make one major decision that changed the course of the game.

What player should replace Turbo in the centres?

Despite Cameron Murray and Isaah Yeo playing the position in the past, the NSW coaching staff decided to opt for hooker Damien Cook to take the vacant centre spot.

“The plan was to put Cook and Murray on at the 30th minute mark together,” Alexander revealed on SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“The reason we went for Cook instead of Murray was that Cameron was recovering from a groin injury.

“We just felt with Damien Cook's speed that he could defend Reece Walsh and defend his speed.

“Cook looked abnormal in the centres because no one is used to it but he was ok. He tried his guts out.”

The decision received much backlash after the game, with critics slandering the decision. Alexander admitted he and the other coaches were reluctant to switch Cook and Murray mid-way throughout the contest.

“We put Murray in the middle to straighten our attack,” Alexander continued.

“We weren't going around (Queensland) and the only way to break down Queensland was to go through them.

“Murray played in the middle to assist in trying to do that.

“That was the theory behind those two plays and why it played out after Trbojevic went down.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. “Cook looked abnormal in the centres because no one is used to it but he was ok. He tried his guts out.”

    He looked abnormal in the centres because he had never played there before, and his positioning, anticipation and reactions weren’t what you would expect from someone who plays centre for a living.

    For sure he tried his guts out, but effort was not enough when the poor guy didn’t know what he was doing. Kudos for doing as well as he did, and a loud raspberry to Freddy and Brandy for thinking he was the right man for that job.

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